The Political Report – 6/24/22

“In every poll running in every targeted House district around the country, House Democrats’ campaign arm is testing how voters feel about the Supreme Court likely overturning Roe v. Wade,” Politico reports.

“The group’s strategists have drafted fundraising emails that will blast out to millions of supporters in the hours after the decision comes out. They’ve cut video clips of what GOP candidates say about abortion. They’re developing analytics models to find and target voters who back abortion rights.”

“Support for Roe is at an all-time high with voters, and the Democrats’ strategy is aimed at firing up a flagging Democratic base, while also trying to compete for some of the college-educated, female, suburban swing voters who backed them during the Trump era.”

A new University of New Hampshire poll finds Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leading Donald Trump (R) in a Republican presidential primary, 39% to 37%.  Support for DeSantis has more than doubled since October.  DeSantis runs better against Joe Biden than does Trump, a further sign of Trump’s weakening support.

Jonathan Chait: “One of the points I made in my feature story on DeSantis in March is that he is the beneficiary of a concerted effort by Republican elites to promote his candidacy. The coordination behind DeSantis is reminiscent of how the party coalesced behind George W. Bush in 1999. What had begun as a wide-open race with multiple contestants winnowed very quickly as the word got out that Bush was the pick.”

“Something very much like that is occurring with DeSantis. DeSantis is hoovering up cash from the party’s donor class, including the support of at least 42 billionaires. The most telling fact about the New Hampshire poll is that while DeSantis leads Trump by just two points overall, he leads among Fox News watchers by 14 points and among conservative radio listeners by 16 points. Republicans who consume conservative media are getting the message. The voters who are not yet tuned in to conservative media may still name Trump in polls, but they are likely to follow.”

“Crucially, the support for DeSantis spans the current internal divide within the party between anti-anti-Trump conservatives — who disdain Trump as a liability and wish he was gone but support him against the Democrats — and enthusiastically pro-Trump conservatives.”

“Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has plenty of advantages ahead of his November reelection. More than $100 million in the bank. A growing statewide Republican voter advantage. Massive popularity with the conservative base,” Politico reports.  “What DeSantis doesn’t need and isn’t requesting: former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.”

“According to four people connected to the governor and former president, DeSantis has not asked Trump for a formal endorsement and isn’t planning to.”

Billionaire Peter Thiel “has told people he is unsure whether he will support Trump in 2024,” the Washington Post reports.

Jonathan Bernstein: “Remember ‘lanes’? Pundits used to — maybe some still do — discuss presidential candidates in terms of which lane they were supposedly running in, with the implication being that they’re only competing with others within that lane. It never made much sense, as political scientist Dave Hopkins explained. But let’s say that former Vice President Mike Pence, who gave a policy speech yesterday in Chicago, is running in the ‘pretend that Republicans are a normal party’ lane.”

“After all, if Republicans were a normal political party — if they were, for example, like the Republican Party of the 1980s — Pence would be a solid frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination…”

“And yet the Republicans, however hard Pence may want to pretend, are nothing like a normal party. And so while Pence may want to believe that his complete loyalty to Trump for three years and eleven months is what counts, what we know is that all that loyalty plus his refusal to go along with a scheme to undermine the Constitution that almost certainly wouldn’t have worked anyway put Pence on the receiving end of a mob screaming for his neck.”

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR and GOVERNOR. Marquette Law School finds Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers both locked in tight general elections against almost every one of their potential opponents. First up are Johnson’s numbers against four would-be Democratic foes:

  • 44-46 vs. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
  • 43-45 vs. state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski
  • 43-44 vs. Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson
  • 45-42 vs. Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry

The pollster also surveys the August Democratic primary and shows Barnes edging out Lasry 25-21, with Godlewski and Nelson at 9% and 7%, respectively, as a 36% plurality remains undecided. Back in April, Marquette gave Barnes a similar 19-16 advantage over Lasry, with Godlewski at 7%. (The school did not poll the general elections during the spring.)

We’ll now turn to the gubernatorial numbers, where Marquette also tested Evers against a quartet of Republican rivals:

  • 47-43 vs. former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch
  • 48-41 vs. 2004 Senate nominee Tim Michels
  • 48-40 vs. 2018 Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson
  • 51-34 vs. state Rep. Timothy Ramthun

The school also finds a tight primary, with Michels passing Kleefisch 27-26; Nicholson lags in third with 10% and Ramthun grabs 3%, while 32% did not choose a candidate. Michels posted that exact same 27-26 edge last month in a Public Policy Polling survey for Milwaukee Works, which was the first indication that Kleefisch had lost her frontrunner status. Donald Trump went on to endorse Michels, who has been spending heavily on commercials, early this month.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR and GOVERNOR. A new AARP poll in Pennsylvania finds John Fetterman (D) leading Mehmet Oz (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 44%.  Key takeaway: Oz’s favorability rating is an incredibly dismal 30% to 63%.   In the race for governor, Josh Shapiro (D) leads Doug Mastriano (R), 49% to 46%.

NEW HAMPSHIRE U.S. SENATOR. The first ad this year from Emily’s List Action, the nonprofit arm of EMILY’s List, is a $600,000 buy praising Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan for standing up for abortion rights in the face of a hostile Supreme Court. The narrator begins, “The Supreme Court’s set to overturn Roe v. Wade—giving politicians the power to control a woman’s most personal decisions about her life, her health, and her family,” before showing a clip of Hassan declaring, “We are not going to let them do that.”

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R) told the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show that there were 52 states in the country while attempting to criticize Stacey Abrams (D) for saying Georgia is “the worst state in the country to live.”  Said Walker: “If you don’t believe in the country, leave and go somewhere else. If it’s the worst state, why are you here? Why don’t you leave ― go to another? There’s, what, 51 more other states that you can go to?”

GA-Gov: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s latest commercial argues that Democrat Stacey Abrams supports defunding the police, a line of attack Georgia viewers can expect to hear many more times before November.

The ad features a clip of Abrams pausing for several seconds after a reporter asks her, “So yes to some defunding,” before the Democrat responds, “We have to reallocate resources, so yes.” However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Kemp’s message leaves out the rest of Abrams’ answer, in which she continued, “If there is a moment where resources are so tight that we have to choose between whether we murder Black people or serve Black people, then absolutely: Our choice must be service. But I actually think it’s creating a false choice and a false narrative.” Abrams’ campaign says she opposes defunding the police.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR. Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday was expected to announce his endorsement of Rep. Lee Zeldin for governor of New York, days before the congressman faces Rudy Giuliani’s son and two other candidates in a Republican primary on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

SurveyUSA, working on behalf of WHEC-TV and WNYT-TV, shows Gov. Kathy Hochul swamping Rep. Tom Suozzi 54-18 ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 11%. Things are far closer on the Republican side as Rep. Lee Zeldin edges out former Trump White House staffer Andrew Giuliani 25-23, with wealthy businessman Harry Wilson and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino behind with 13% and 8%, respectively. All four men, though, badly trail Hochul in hypothetical general elections, with Zeldin’s 52-28 deficit representing the smallest margin of defeat.

OK-Sen-B: Read Frontier reports that former White House staffer Alex Gray has dropped out of next week’s Republican primary and backed Luke Holland, who is outgoing Sen. Jim Inhofe’s former chief of staff. A recent survey from the GOP firm Amber Integrated found Gray taking less than 1%, though Holland was hardly in good shape with only 4% of respondents in his corner.

MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. “Republican operatives and donors in Washington and Missouri are privately working to undercut the Senate campaign of Eric Greitens, the ex-governor who resigned in disgrace four years ago, after he released an ad that graphically dramatized hunting down members of his own party,” the Washington Post reports. “But the opposition is split among factions backing different rivals in the Aug. 2 primary and over disagreements on who should attack Greitens or how.”

MA-Gov: YouGov’s new survey for UMass Lowell finds both Democratic candidates, Attorney General Maura Healey and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, posting huge leads in general election matchups against the two Republican contenders. Healey outpaces former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and businessman Chris Doughty 61-30 and 58-30, respectively, while Chang-Díaz beats them 54-29 and 50-30.

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR. Two new polls of November’s race for governor in New Mexico both show a close contest. A survey from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, taken on behalf of the independent news site New Mexico Political Report, finds Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham leading Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti 45-42, with Libertarian Karen Bedonie taking 9% of the vote, while a Ronchetti internal from Public Opinion Strategies has him edging out the incumbent 46-45.

Ronchetti’s poll doesn’t appear to have included Bedonie, whose share of the vote is unusually high for a third-party candidate but not quite out of the realm of possibility: Former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson took 9% in New Mexico’s presidential race in 2016 while running as a Libertarian, then followed that up two years later with a 15% showing in a bid for Senate. Bedonie of course lacks the name recognition of Johnson, and her ultimate Election Day performance is likely to be in the low rather than high single digits, but Democrats will be pleased so long as she draws votes away from Ronchetti.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR. Author Wes Moore has earned an endorsement from Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who represents the heavily Democratic 7th District around Baltimore, in the crowded July 19 Democratic primary for governor.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR. St. Pete Polls, working on behalf of Florida Politics, shows Rep. Charlie Crist beating his one serious intra-party foe, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, 49-24 in the Democratic primary to take on GOP incumbent Ron DeSantis. Fried herself recently publicized an internal that founds things far closer, but she still trailed Crist 38-34.

The ultimate winner will be in for an uphill battle against DeSantis. We haven’t seen any reliable polling here in months, but the governor and his PAC ended May with a gigantic $112 million at their disposal. Crist, who was elected governor in 2006 as a Republican and narrowly lost the 2014 general election following his party switch, by contrast led Fried $6.3 million to $3.9 million.

FLORIDA U.S. SENATOR. Candidate filing closed Friday for Florida’s Aug. 23 primaries, and the state has a list of contenders available here.  Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s only serious opponent is Democratic Rep. Val Demings, whose one notable intra-party foe, former Rep. Alan Grayson, announced last month that he’d instead run to succeed her in the House. Demings has been a very strong fundraiser, but she faces a difficult campaign in a longtime swing state that has been trending right in recent years. Major outside groups have also so far avoided reserving ad time on either side in this extremely expensive state.

The most recent survey we’ve seen was a late May internal for the congresswoman’s allies at Giffords PAC, and it gave Rubio a 47-41 edge.

UTAH U.S. SENATOR. A new WPA Intelligence poll for Republican Sen. Mike Lee finds him leading conservative independent challenger Evan McMullin by a 52-33 margin, a very different result from a recent independent survey from Dan Jones & Associates that gave Lee just a 41-37 edge. Earlier this year, Utah Democrats declined to put forward their own nominee and instead gave their backing to McMullin in the hopes that an alliance between Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans would give both factions the best chance to boot Lee, a notorious Trump sycophant.

ALASKA U.S. SENATOR. Alaskans for L.I.S.A.—oh, you thought that was just “Lisa,” as in Murkowski? nope, it stands for the almost recursive, very nearly tautological “Leadership In a Strong Alaska,” and yes, it includes those periodsis spending $2 million to air ads boosting … you’ll never believe it … Lisa Murkowski. The super PAC’s spot, which is the first outside TV advertising of the race, touts the Republican senator’s local roots and her advocacy on behalf of the state. There’s no word yet as to whether the Man from U.N.C.L.E. plans to get involved.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR. Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan has dropped an internal from Remington Research Group showing him deadlocked 27-27 with state Sen. Darren Bailey ahead of Tuesday’s GOP primary, with Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin at just 13%. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his allies have spent massive amounts trying to ensure that the far-right Bailey is his GOP opponent rather than Irvin, but they’ve largely ignored Sullivan. Most other recent polls have also shown Bailey ahead of Irvin as Sullivan lags in third.

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR. YouGov’s new survey for UMass Lowell finds both Democratic candidates, Attorney General Maura Healey and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, posting huge leads in general election matchups against the two Republican contenders. Healey outpaces former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and businessman Chris Doughty 61-30 and 58-30, respectively, while Chang-Díaz beats them 54-29 and 50-30.

NEW YORK LT. GOVERNOR. New York’s most prominent outspoken progressive, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, endorsed activist Ana Maria Archila for lieutenant governor on Wednesday, taking sides against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s preferred choice just a week before the Democratic primary.

Hochul very much wants her new second-in-command, recently elevated former Rep. Antonio Delgado, to join her on the ticket in November, but the choice isn’t up to her. That’s because New York is one of just seven states that nominates governors and lieutenant governors in separate primaries, with the winners joined together in what can often be an awkward “shotgun wedding.”

Should Archila prevail over Delgado and find herself as Hochul’s number-two next year, a similarly frosty relationship could develop. Archila made a name for herself when she famously confronted then-Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake during Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination hearings, blocking an elevator door as she told Flake, who refused to meet her eyes, of her own sexual assault and demanded he oppose Donald Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court.

She hasn’t hesitated to challenge the more moderate Delgado, either: At a recent debate, in response to a non-committal answer from Delgado about whether Hochul should sign a recently passed bill that would place a moratorium on using fossil fuel plants for cryptocurrency mining, Archila retorted, “This is a perfect example of a governor being an obstacle to process and the lieutenant governor saying nothing.”

And she’s similarly promised to hold Hochul to account. “I will not be a lieutenant governor who’s quietly in the background, smiling and cutting ribbons,” she said in a recent interview, adding she would “stand up to the governor when he or she is veering away.” Hochul herself understands what it’s like to have a poor relationship with the top dog, in a very different way: She receded into near-invisibility for two terms under the autocratic Andrew Cuomo, who reportedly sought to boot her from his ticket last year before he was engulfed in a massive string of sexual misconduct scandals that led to his resignation.

Hochul also knows all too well that her fortunes and Delgado’s may not be linked on primary day. In 2018, Cuomo handily dispatched a left-wing challenge from actor and activist Cynthia Nixon by a huge 66-34 margin, but on that same day, Hochul only turned back a similar effort from Jumaane Williams, then a little-known New York City councilman, by a much narrower 53-47 spread.

Williams, now the city’s public advocate, is challenging Hochul once again, and he’s allied with Archila as the two most vocal candidates on the left. Polls show Hochul beating Williams in a landslide, but there hasn’t been a single public survey of the primary for the second spot.

Delgado of course has Hochul’s blessing and the backing of many labor unions, plus a $2 million war chest he was able to transfer from his congressional campaign account that’s given him a wide financial edge over Archila and a third candidate, former New York City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, the unofficial running mate of Rep. Tom Suozzi.

But the Colombia-born Archila, who, like the Afro-Latino Delgado, would be the first Hispanic person elected statewide in New York, has been campaigning for longer and enjoys the support of a wide range of progressive organizations. There’s also the matter of how exactly Delgado came to be on the ticket: After Hochul’s previous lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, resigned following his arrest on bribery charges, Hochul pressured the legislature into changing state law to allow her to replace Benjamin on the primary ballot with Delgado.

Archila has been sharply critical of Hochul’s maneuvering to alter the rules for her benefit midstream. “The governor interfered in an election that was already underway,” she put it recently, “instead of allowing a fair election between two Latinas that had been running already.” If voters also find this sort of self-serving power politics distasteful, Delgado could find himself a victim of the very effort that was designed to further his ambitions.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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